Giant Bugs That Don’t Terrify Me

summertime

We spent our Saturday at Cheekwood Art & Gardens. It was our first visit in a year. We love Cheekwood and I CANNOT believe it’s been an entire year since we went to “Light. This summer’s trip instantly beat out last years because this trip included Luna. My in-laws, Husband, myself and Luna all spent the warm summer afternoon walking around the gardens, the mansion and the really cool sculptures.

This little girl loved playing in the bamboo.
This little girl loved playing in the bamboo.

The most prominent part of Cheekwood this summer is the giant bug sculptures exhibit. There are huge wooden bugs scattered throughout the grounds, all made of wood and some our even large enough to explore. There is a beehive, a treehouse and an enormous butterfly that everyone is actually allowed to touch, climb, swing and slide down. And, by everyone, I mean adults too.

davidrogers

 

spider

We pushed the stroller around, but only to carry our bags, water and camera because Luna wanted to be carried around so she could look at the world. It was a hot Saturday, but luckily we found lots of shade to sit and relax. Luna even got to dip her feet in one of the water gardens.

water

Besides the giant wooden bugs there was also a crazy stick house created by Patrick Dougherty. The house was created on the property and is made of all sticks and twigs tangled together.

patrick

Thank God there is a mansion in the middle of the gardens to offer some relief from the 93 degree weather. The Cheekwood mansion is always lovely by itself, but it also holds different art exhibits throughout the year. It’s currently hosting Andy Warhol silkscreen painting of flowers, and I swear they’ve never looked so beautiful as they did in the air conditioner that day. Luna seemed to really enjoy walking around and gazing at all the photos with her Grandma.

These are, of course, real flowers, not painting, but taking photos of the paintings is forbidden.
These are, of course, real flowers, not paintings, but taking photos of the paintings is forbidden.

There’s just so much to look at in the Gardens we saw a crazy outdoor train set, the Japanese gardens, the herb garden, the dogwood garden and more. Then there’s lots more we didn’t even get to this time around. I guess we will just have to go back and maybe pack a picnic basket next time.

our family

For my local friends (or my traveling friends) keep in mind that Cheekwood has extended hours on Friday nights and several other summer events for the whole family. It’s beautiful there, seriously, you don’t want to miss it. In fact, if you go, let me know, maybe we can meet you there!

cheekwood

Cheers!

Advertisements

My Play Date with Moms

I recently met up with a couple of friend’s of mine, also Mommies, to go on a hike with our babies. VERY few of my Tennessee friends have babies so it’s rare that I get the opportunity to hangout with other Moms. It’s especially difficult considering I live an hour away from one, and two hours away from the other. So, when we do get together we try to pick a place somewhat in the middle. Our recent get together was at Old Hickory Lake Park, just north of Nashville.

OHLpark

This place is awesome! The trails go through some beautiful thick and very shaded woods. It is next to an enormous lake with beach areas, picnic tables and playgrounds. The woods are tall and grow over all the paths so its easy to stay cool on the shaded trails. Some trails are paved, but even the dirt trails are maintained well enough that we could push a stroller just about everywhere we wanted to explore. The moss growing over stones and old trees, as well as the butterflies, gives it a very “enchanted forest” feel.

forest sunlight

The best part about hanging out with these ladies is the ability to talk about our kids without feeling like a bore or like you’re in a competition. It’s so easy to get either competitive or ashamed when talking with (or googling) other moms and kids. I hate to even mention what Luna is doing, or not doing, because I don’t want to hear what she should be doing, or not doing. I too often google questions like, “When should my baby start laughing?”, “Why doesn’t my 4-month old play with her toys?”, or “When can I expect to be on a schedule?”

babyl

Sometimes I find responses that give me a bit a comfort, but most often I read things like “My newborn was on a schedule the second she popped out. She speaks 4 languages, sleeps 12 hours a night, reads fluently and does 25 push-ups.” Obviously these internet Moms with perfect children leave me thinking I must be doing something very wrong. I don’t actually take these people seriously, but it’s still refreshing and relieving to be with my real Mom friends and hear that their kids are just as unpredictable and random as my own.

babyboy

At first, one of us may sort of slowly and questionably ask….”sooooo, does your baby grab toys yet?” or “does your kid nap at the same time everyday by any chance?” Instead of lying or, exaggerating the truth, one of us will reply with, “Oh God no, my baby will sometimes take two 3 hour snaps and the next day might take 5 twenty minute naps. Then sometimes she naps once.”. Then we can all breathe with relief and realize that are kids are perfectly perfect.

swamp

After our hike, we had a picnic where we got to talk and gossip while one baby slept, one ate and one (slightly older baby) ran around chasing bugs. It was a great afternoon and I am looking forward to many more summer days like this!

meandluna

Cheers!

Finally A Nice Day!

GarrisonCreek

This past Sunday was GORGEOUS.

 

Like, most of the U.S., Tennessee has been freezing for what feels like an eternity now. The worst part is that it has been in the single digits with zero precipitation. It should be illegal to be that cold with no snow. What’s the point? No one wants to go out in play in dry 7 degree weather, so we have felt as if we are under house arrest. I’ve enjoyed the hot soups, tea and warm fires, but we have felt stir crazy lately.

But, Sunday was nice. Sunday it was sunny, blue clear skies and 55 degrees outside! It felt like summer. It’s amazing how warm 55 can feel after it’s been only 4 degrees. There was no way we were going to waste the day indoors, so we decided a hike was in order and headed off the the Natchez Trace. We found ourselves back on Garrison Creek trail, where Husband and I hiked back in the fall. This time, we found a different section we’d yet to explore.

natchez trace tree

The lookout
The lookout

Since I am now 37 weeks pregnant, enormous and uncomfortable I assumed we would hike about a mile before I got too worn out, or had to pee and then have to go home. I don’t know why I ever considered this a possibility. Did I forget who I was married to? We ended up hiking 3 miles, which really isn’t that bad…if you are not about to have a baby. I tried to be a trooper for the most part, but we did take a break halfway through so I could sit and rest.

37 weeks and 1 day pregnant...20 days to go!
37 weeks and 1 day pregnant…20 days to go!

hiking moss

Towards the end of the hike we came to a creek that we were supposed to cross, but the bridge had been demolished and the water was half-frozen over. Our friends and I decided to stay on our side of the river and follow where the trail should lead, like any logical person would do. Husband, of course, managed to get across the river, not once, but twice because the other bridge at the end of the trail was also demolished.

The first broken bridge.
The first broken bridge.
Belle probably had the best time.
Belle probably had the best time.

spikes

It was such a pretty day. I could feel the sun on my skin and actually enjoy being outdoors. Even some of the plants looked beautiful, which I didn’t expect during the dead of winter. We had a really nice time just walking, chatting and enjoying the scenery. By the end, I was done and hoping I’d somehow convinced Luna she was done too.

Belle was exhausted! She immediately climbed into the carseat and rested the whole way home.
Belle was exhausted! She immediately climbed into the carseat and rested the whole way home.

Back home, Husband and I worked out for another half-hour. I’m doing whatever I can to convince this baby that it’s time to come out and meet us. So far, she still seems happy where she is, but I’m excited to see what the doctor will say today!

Cheers!

A Bicycle Built For 12

One of the best activities to do while vacationing in Hilton Head is bike riding. Hilton Head Island is covered with bike paths. You can easily ride from one end of the island to the other without leaving a path (except to cross a few streets). Our family rents over a dozen bikes every year and we spend at least a portion of every day biking.

Every morning there is a handful of us who hop on our bikes at 7am, ride to Starbucks, get our fix and ride home with at least 3 copies of the New York Times. (We need multiple copies to keep the family from fighting.)

starbucks

The path to Starbucks involves crossing a few bridges that go over swamps, often full of turtles and the occasional alligator.

gator gator bike ride

Our long bike rides usually start on the beach. We swerve between kids digging holes and families lounging under umbrellas. We splash through the shallow water and get hot enough that we are beyond ecstatic to get off the beach and onto the bike trail.

beach copy beach ride copy me,steph,amy copy

The paths are all shaded by thick willowy trees covered in moss. They are so shaded that it acts as a shield from the sunshine and the rain.

bike with steph

Every year we take the same bike rides…some are short and sweet and others are long and miserable. It’s tradition to spend at least one day riding ten miles that go through mosquito-infested preserves and unshaded paths. We ride to the historical tabby house at the Baynard ruins, the mysterious shell ring at the Sea Pines Forest Reserve, Harbor town and South Beach.

While walking around the tabby house we saw a lizard scampering along the shells and Husband insisted that I catch it… While dating and getting to know each other Husband and I spent lots of time sharing stories from our childhoods…his in the hills of middle Tennessee, mine in the marshy flatlands of southeast Texas. I told him how I used to catch lizards, put them on my ears like earrings and then freak out my sister. He couldn’t believe this, so the first chance I got, I proved it to him. Now, anytime he sees a lizard he thinks it’s hysterical for me hang the poor little creature from my ear lobes.

lizard copy

The best part of our long bike rides is the end. We always finish our ride at Coligny Plaza where we get Italian ice and custard from Rita’s.

italian ice rita's

Taking bike rides every day is one of my favorite Hilton Head traditions. It also makes me feel a little less guilty about the junk we eat on vacation.

Cheers!